Those sneaky owners.
I don’t know about you… but they definitely had me fooled. You see, I was actually on their side, at one point, over the course of this whole collective bargaining agreement mess. Really, I was on their side. I mean, the way I saw it, players are getting PLENTY of money. Loads of the stuff. More than most of us will ever see in this lifetime, anyway… collectively!
Guys like Albert Haynesworth are running around cashing $21 million checks and then are telling the owners what they will and will not do and when they will and will not do it. Guys like JaMarcus Russell come into the league instant multi-millionaires, only to bust and be out of the league in three or four seasons, financially set for life.
Not that I’m a hater, mind you. I like the fact that these guys get paid all that they can, given how dangerous this sport is to play—especially the players that actually go out and work hard. But I just do not like the greed of it all.
And that is the primary thing I see when I look at the Haynesworths and Russells of the NFL. So yes… I thought the owners had a point. Player salaries and new stadium costs, indeed, seem to be out of control. And as a fan, I do not want to see any lockout…and I truly felt the owners did not want to see one either. So I blamed the players for this mess, in the beginning—even though I knew, in the back of my mind, that the owners also played a heavy role in making their own beds with the current CBA.
But then last week, I came across a little known fact (to the average football fan)…a move the NFL owners made during the last television contract negotiations. A contract stipulation, if you will.
You see, the NFL product is so good that networks will pay for it even if it doesn’t exist. Yeah…that’s right. You read that correctly. The NFL product is so good that every single network that broadcasts NFL games—and there are four of them, as well as a certain well-known satellite giant—have agreed to pay the NFL for their product even if it doesn’t exist. I believe it was P. T. Barnum who originated the classic phrase, “There is a sucker born every minute”.
Clearly there is. You see, those sneaky owners managed to somehow convince the networks to guarantee payment of that astronomically large sum of cash that comprise the current package of television contracts, even if there are no games played. Not one quarter, not one snap.
rich_one is a Jabberhead and an SJ contributing author. Rich will be writing his recurring "The Yard Marker" column exclusively for Sports Jabber.
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